Maryland has casinos nowadays, but since the state was created it has gone back and forth with regard to its stance on gambling. Back in the day, when lotteries ran rampant all over the newly-founded country, Maryland was riddled with lotteries. Just as it went in many other early states, the lotteries soon became more unscrupulous and were eventually banned. Since the 18th century, the legality of gambling has changed a few times in the state of Maryland.
Nowadays, however, it seems as though the state is following the lead of many of its neighbors and becoming more casino-friendly. In fact, Maryland is growing to be so open to casinos that many people feel as though it will be one of the next states to legalize and regulate online casinos; much like you will find in New Jersey and neighboring Delaware.
Rocky Gap Casino Resort
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
Hollywood Casino Perryville
Maryland Live! Casino
MGM National Harbor
In Maryland, the only type of casino you will find are of the land-based variety. Other than being able to determine that we are not talking about riverboat casinos, the term “land-based” does little to fill you in on what, exactly, these casinos have to offer. In Maryland, the land-based casinos are able to offer the full casino experience—including video poker, slots, and table games (including poker). In addition to this, many of these casinos also double as resorts, which means that there will be restaurants, shopping, and shows to accompany the casino floor. Maryland is still in its infancy with regard to offering full-scale casinos with all types of games, so the number of casinos that exist is small now, but growing.
In Maryland, especially more recently, the legality surrounding casinos is something that has come to down to certain terms within the laws that prohibited gambling. The vague terms used have given courts a lot of room for interpretation as far as what constitutes gambling. As such, we have seen Maryland courts over the years make some interesting rulings with regard to what is or is not considered to be wagering. In recent years, however, the wording of state laws have been altered to avoid further confusion and to generally end prohibition of gambling.
As far as the casino history and gambling history of the state is concerned, we will have to take you back to the latter parts of the 18th century. Back then, there were thousands of lotteries that were originally ran as charities whose proceeds benefited local churches and other organizations. Before the mid-1800s, however, lotteries became riddled with fraud and, by the end of the 1830s, they were outlawed.
Then in the 1920s, Maryland created the Horse racing oversight board, which not only governed the horse races that were held in the state, it also regulated the wagers that were placed on those races. With things going smoothly as far as pari-mutuel wagering was concerned, the state moved once again to relax laws that prohibited gambling. They did this in the mid-1940s by allowing certain communities to gain licenses to host slot machines. This went on until the 1960s, when Maryland announced that it would no longer be renewing licenses for slot machines. With this came yet another period of casino and gambling prohibition in the state.
For the next 40-50 years, the state of gambling in Maryland remained fairly bleak. Though a state-run lottery was introduced in the 1970s, every style of casino gambling was and continued to be outlawed.
In 2012, the Governor of Maryland announced that he was ready and willing to expand the score of legal gambling in the state. By February, legislation was introduced and passed that would not only grant a license to a new casino located in Prince George’s County, it would grant licenses to other casinos (really pari-mutuel gambling locations at horse tracks) and make it legal for them to host table games. Since this 2012 ruling, there have been 6 casinos opened, with 5 of them featuring 20 or more table games. Maryland is slowly but surely positioning itself as one of the best states on the Eastern Seaboard for live casino play.